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Sue Guinn Legg

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Johnson City youth receives numerous honors for work to save animals, but new phase awaits

May 20th, 2013 8:34 am by Sue Guinn Legg

Johnson City youth receives numerous honors for work to save animals, but new phase awaits

Jurnee Carr.

Jurnee Carr, a senior at University High School, a former Miss Teen International title holder and founder of the nonprofit Jurnee’s Journey organization that raises awareness and funds for no-kill animal rescue groups and spay and neuter clinics worldwide, has accomplished a lot in her 18 years.

Now with her high school graduation and her first year of study at Liberty University on the horizon, Carr says she will begin a new a new phase of the “service journey” she set out on at the tender age of 12.

It was a Girl Scout trip to deliver donated supplies to a local animal shelter that got her started. While touring the shelter, Carr was struck by the shelter’s stark living conditions, crowded cages and lack of adequate space, bedding and food. When her mother told her what happens to the shelter animals that are not adopted, her journey to end euthanasia began.

With help from her mom, a marketing director for a regional financial firm, Carr launched her nonprofit group, selling animal-themed jewelry at area festivals and passing along the proceeds to local humane societies, no-kill shelters and spay and neuter clinics and has since gone on give its support to animal rescue groups across the nation and in two foreign counties.

Since 2007, Jurnee’s Journey has raised more than $30,000 for beneficiaries, including the Humane Societies of Washington, Sullivan and Greene counties, the Kingsport Animal Shelter and Dogwood Park.

While her success has been notable, she said it was not that surprising considering the professional marketing advice she’s received from her mother, the natural gravitation to jewelry she found among women festival-goers and the generosity she discovered in most people who are given an opportunity to help animals in distress.

With her subsequent appointment to the Youth Advisory Board of the Humane Society of the United States, Jurnee’s Journey gained national exposure. And when she won the Miss Teen International title in 2011, her cause went worldwide. Her organization has since lent its support to the FiXiT Foundation of Norfolk, Va.; PAWS of Chicago; the Arizona Humane Society; the Tri-County Humane Society; St. Cloud, Minn.; the Wiregrass Humane Society of Dothan, Ala.; the Pulaski County Humane Society of Little Rock; the Tanzania Animal Protection Organization; the Romania Animal Rescue and others.

For her nonprofit work, Carr has received congressional recognitions for outstanding youth achievement. She’s been the subject of a special resolution issued by the Tennessee House of Representatives. And most recently, she was named a “Distinguished Finalist” in the Prudential Financial Co.’s national Spirit of Community Awards.

A bronze medallion for her placement in the Prudential competition was presented at last week’s University High Awards Night ceremony. While a school track meet kept Carr from attending the ceremony, she said, “I was very excited to receive Distinguished Finalist.

“I was applying for every scholarship I could. Unfortunately, that one didn’t have any scholarship money with it. But it was really a huge honor.”

As she moves on to college this fall to begin her pursuit of a degree in youth ministry, Carr said her work with Jurnee’s Journey will evolve into a more “grown-up phase” of fundraising and advocacy. But her mission will always be “to provide a voice for animals who do not have a human voice to speak with.”

If given a chance to speak directly for animals in her local community, she said her message would be “Please, if someone has a dog or cat they’ve found that’s a stray, do not take it to a shelter. I know it may be a burden to keep for a few days and nights, but there are a lot options for forever homes.

“(The Jurnee’s Journey) Facebook page is a good outreach tool for animals in the area” in need of adoption and vouchers for local spay and neuter clinics, she said.

Car’s Web page at JurneesJourney.org also features a wealth of information, including an opportunity to donate directly and a listing of upcoming events where her message and merchandise can be located.

On June 1, animal lovers can look for Jurnee’s Journey booths at the Rescue Rendezvous adoption event at Trader’s Village in Kingsport and at the Woofstock Festival and 4K 4 Paws road race to benefit the Margaret B. Mitchell Spay and Neuter Clinic at Sugar Hollow Park in Bristol.

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